Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a global health problem. It is estimated there are more than 2 billion individuals exposed to the virus and 250 million are chronically infected. Hepatitis B is the cause of more than 600000 annual deaths due to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. An effective vaccine exists and preventative initiatives center around universal vaccination especially in those at highest risk. Effective vaccination algorithms have led to a significant decline in the development of new infections and its devastating consequences. The vaccine is administered intramuscularly in three doses, with 95% showing long lasting serologic immunity. An additional fourth dose or a repeated higher dose three course regimen is given to those that fail to show immunity. Despite these additional regimens, some remain vulnerable to hepatitis B and are deemed non-responders. Individuals with chronic disease states such as kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes mellitus, as well as those with a genetic predisposition, and those on immunomodulation therapy, have the highest likelihood of non-response. Various strategies have been developed to elicit an immune response in these individuals. These include increased vaccination dose, intradermal administration, alternative adjuvants, alternative routes of administration, co-administration with other vaccines, and other novel therapies. These alternative strategies can show improved response and lasting immunity. In summary, HBV vaccination is a major advance of modern medicine and all individuals at risk should be sought and vaccinated with subsequent adequate titers demonstrated.
Bile cast nephropathy is a condition of renal dysfunction in the setting of hyperbilirubinemia. There are very few cases of this condition reported in the last decade and a lack of established treatment guidelines. While the exact etiology remains unknown, bile cast nephropathy is presumed to be secondary to multiple concurrent insults to the kidney including direct toxicity from bile acids, obstructive physiology from bile casts, and systemic hypoperfusion from vasodilation. Therapy directed at bilirubin reduction may improve renal function, but will likely need dialysis or plasmapheresis as well. We report our case of bile cast nephropathy and the therapeutic measures undertaken in a middle-aged male with chronic renal insufficiency that developed hyperbilirubinemia and drug-induced liver injury secondary to antibiotic use. He developed acute renal injury in the setting of rising bilirubin. He subsequently had a progressive decline in renal and hepatic function, requiring dialysis and plasmapheresis with some improvement, ultimately requiring transplantation.
Composite probiotics containing B. infantis might be an effective therapeutic option for IBS patients, which could significantly alleviate the symptoms of IBS without significant adverse effects. However, the efficacy of single probiotic B. infantis on IBS has not been confirmed yet, which needs to be further validated by more large-sized randomized clinical trials.
Background and aimsMany patients with liver disease come to medical attention once they have advanced cirrhosis or acute decompensation. Most often, patients are screened for liver disease via liver function tests (LFTs). There is very limited published data evaluating laboratory values with biopsy-proven stages of hepatic fibrosis. We set out to evaluate whether any correlation exists between routine LFTs and stages of hepatic fibrosis.MethodsA large retrospective observational study on 771 liver biopsies was conducted for evaluating the stage of fibrosis with AST, ALT, INR, BUN, creatinine, platelets, alkaline phosphatase, bilirubin, and albumin. Mean and 95% confidence intervals were used to describe the distributions of serum markers in different fibrosis stages. Multivariable generalized linear models were used and a two-tailed P-value was calculated.ResultsALT was not statistically significant for any stage, and AST was statistically significant for stage 3 and 4 fibrosis. INR was statistically significant only in stage 4 disease but remained near the upper limit of normal range. Albumin failed to show a clinically relevant association. Platelets remained within normal laboratory range for all stages. The remaining laboratory values failed to show statistical and clinical significance.ConclusionThe health care burden from chronic liver disease (CLD) will likely continue to rise, unless clinicians are made aware that normal or near normal laboratory findings may be seen in asymptomatic patients. Earlier identification of asymptomatic patients will allow for treatment with new promising modalities and decrease morbidity and mortality from CLD. Our study shows that laboratory values correlate poorly with liver disease.
Sphingomonas paucimobilis is a strictly aerobic, non-spore-forming Gram-negative bacillus, ubiquitous bacterium, thought to be an opportunistic pathogen and is rarely reported in clinical settings. Here in, is the first case report of Acute Sphingomonas phlebitis secondary to intravenous (IV) drug use. We present the case of a 39-year-old male who initially presented with pain in his right upper extremity, fevers and chills of three week duration. He admitted to regularly injecting heroin in his distal right upper extremity with visible erythema, tenderness and streaking along the path of vein along the injection site. Radiographic studies including X-ray of the right arm, ultrasound and a subsequent MRI of the right arm were not significant for any osteomyelitis, deep venous thrombus, abscess, cellulitis, osteomyelitis, or pyomyositis. Blood culture grew Sphingomonas paucimobilis. Patient was initially started on vancomycin and piperacillin/tazobactam and subsequently switched to levofloxacin to complete a 14 day course. Patient admitted to using toilet water to mix his heroin which we suspect may have been the source of his bacteremia. Since it was first reported in 1979, a wide variety of community-acquired and hospital-acquired infections have been attributed to this Sphingomonas. It is ubiquitous to natural environment. We believe that due to its widespread habitat and ability to survive in stress conditions it could be a potential future threat in the era of increasing antimicrobial resistance globally. More research needs to be done on early identification, pathogenesis, treatment and eradication of the organism.
Acute esophageal necrosis (AEN), also called “black esophagus,” is a condition characterized by circumferential necrosis of the esophagus with universal distal involvement and variable proximal extension with clear demarcation at the gastroesophageal junction. It is an unusual cause of upper gastrointestinal bleeding and is recognized with distinct and striking mucosal findings on endoscopy. The patients are usually older and are critically ill with shared comorbidities, which include atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, chronic renal insufficiency, and malnutrition. Alcoholism and substance abuse could be seen in younger patients. Patients usually have systemic hypotension along with upper abdominal pain in the background of clinical presentation of hematemesis and melena. The endoscopic findings confirm the diagnosis and biopsy is not always necessary unless clinically indicated in atypical presentations. Herein we present two cases with distinct clinical presentation and discuss the endoscopic findings along with a review of the published literature on the management of AEN.
Albumin, a negatively charged globular protein encoded on chromosome 4, is one of the most abundant proteins in the plasma and accounts for approximately 75% of plasma oncotic pressure. The role of albumin in the management of various disease states has shown to be beneficial historically. Low serum albumin is a predictor of mortality and poor outcomes. In cirrhotics undergoing paracentesis, albumin infusion prevents rapid re-accumulation of ascitic fluid while simultaneously decreasing the risk of post-paracentesis related circulatory dysfunction. Additionally, albumin is utilized in patients with hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) and spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP). Overall, albumin appears to be an effective pharmacological agent in the management of cirrhosis and its complications.
Acute gastric volvulus is a life threatening condition requiring early diagnosis and aggressive management. Diagnosis of gastric volvulus remains a challenge for clinicians due to variable, non-specific clinical presentation, which requires a high level of suspicion. It should be considered in patients presenting with chest pain and/or epigastric pain, especially in the elderly population. Endoscopic de-rotation could be initially attempted as a therapeutic modality especially in patients who cannot undergo surgery. However, surgery remains the main stay of treatment. Delay in diagnosis can lead to complications like mucosal ischemia, necrosis or perforation, shock, which substantially increase the morbidity and mortality.
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